The MLB All-Star Game Ain't What She Used To Be

By Stacey Kengal
Thomas Campbell – USA TODAY SPORTS

The All-Star Game, I already said it ain’t what it used to be, before naming the five Pittsburgh Pirates who I thought most-deserved to make it, at least among themselves anyway. It’s hard to argue they ALL should go though, without pretty much ignoring the rest of the league’s best players. But that’s what a lot a fans will do. They’re thinking is, “If he’s a [insert any MLB team name here really], he’s goin’ to the All-Star Game, the rest of the league be damned!”

Not that it matters because, like I said, the game ain’t what it used to be. It’s pretty much become some hippie-love-fest-everybody’s-a-winner-look-at-us-we’re-all-All-Stars type of “event” instead of a real competition to see who has, at least for one night, the best baseball team. The classic example most-often given of just how much the player’s attitude toward the game has changed, and everyone else’s I guess, is Pete Rose barreling over Ray Fosse* at home plate in the bottom of the 12th to win the 1970 All-Star Game for the National League. That play would never happen now. Now they just run out of pitchers and call it tie.

[*That play incidentally DID NOT ruin Ray Fosse’s career as many, myself included at one time, erroneously believe. Fosse played 42 games in the second half of the season AFTER his monumental collision-felt-’round-the-world with Rose, and even made the All-Star team the very next season in ’71; winning a gold glove also I might add. Why the argument is made probably has more to do with Pete Rose and who he is than anything else, but the reality of Fosse’s decline, if you look into it with any detail, simply does not jive with the initial contention Pete Rose ended Ray Fosse’s career.]

But back to the game itself and just why it stinks so much now…

It’s merely a popularity contest now based on the media manipulation of the masses. An American Idol with bats ‘n balls ‘n bases. Like some Hollywood Oscar’s show … A Night for the Stars! (yawn) Excuse me while go watch a rerun of 8 Men Out, or something worthwhile. I don’t know, Downton Abbey maybe. Anything but the sickening doting love-fest the All-Star game has become. I’ll probably harp on a million-and-one different things as to why the game ain’t THE game anymore from now till the end of time (or longer), but for the moment, I’ll start with the process of selection…

Exactly why a person should get 25 votes for something when another person gets 25 votes for the same thing doesn’t make sense to me. Unless you’re giving the former to a commercial market with a larger fan base, say ah, oh, I don’t know, New York, LA or Chicago or … oh, you know what I mean. Or where I mean, I should say. If you got more people to vote than I got more people to vote, and you multiply those votes 25 times by the more people you got than I got, well, you’re going to “win” any election more often times than not, simply because you got more of what they call, clout. You simply have more voting power based not only on the more people you got than I got, but also by empowering those “more people” with “more votes”.

It’s like an exponential-Einsteinian-thing or something. I don’t know, I’m not a mathematician; but you don’t have to be one to see that one group has a numerical advantage over the other group to begin with, even before you give them the extra 24 votes each. Under the present system, 25 votes a piece by 1,000,000 Yankee fans goes a lot further than 25 votes a piece by 300,000 Pirate fans in getting your player elected. But then again, 25 votes a piece by 1,000,000 Yankee fans goes a lot further than 25 votes a piece by 300,000 Pirate fans in consumer purchasing power also, which ultimately is, boys and girls, what it’s all about these days. But it didn’t used to be that way.

Just ask Pete Rose and Ray Fosse.

Stacey Kengal is a writer for covering the Pittsburgh Pirates. Follow him on Twitter @StaceyKengal, “Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.

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